Driving Solutions for a Healthier Future

ABA’s Katherine Lugar (third from right) joins U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) leadership and the 2020 Childhood Obesity Prevention Award winners for an award presentation at the Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. From left: USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran; Albuquerque, N.M., Mayor Tim Keller; Augusta, Ga., Mayor Hardie Davis; Oakland Park, Fla., Mayor Matthew Sparks; ABA President and CEO Katherine Lugar; Mayor-President of Baton Rouge, La., Sharon Weston Broome; and Former USCM President and Rochester Hills, Mich., Mayor Bryan Barnett.

ABA’s Katherine Lugar addresses attendees at the Childhood Obesity Prevention Awards Luncheon during the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.The American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America (ABFHA) continues to support America’s hometowns by providing grants to community organizations that are working to advance the physical health of their citizens and environmental health of their communities Given the unprecedented year, the Foundation also pivoted to help ease the burden families face during COVID-19.

Programs that received grants in 2020 included: Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation, to create awareness videos on the benefits of plastics recycling; Michigan Recycling Coalition, to build an educational center to demonstrate recycling operations; Oklahoma’s Sovereign Community School, to build school additions that can help the physical and nutritional wellness of its Native American students and families; North Carolina’s Keep Durham Beautiful, to create a litter prevention curriculum for elementary schools; California’s Veggielution, to provide training and paid opportunities for low-income mobile food entrepreneurs; and the City of Orlando in Florida, to build a “ReThink Your Waste” display outside of its education center.

As part of an ongoing partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Foundation supports mayoral initiatives that take on childhood obesity with innovative programs encouraging balanced diets and regular physical activity. In 2021, as the partnership grows, support will expand to include initiatives that address environnmental health and sustainability. To date, more than 50 cities have been awarded more than $4.3 million in grants through the Childhood Obesity Prevention Awards.

This year, six U.S. cities shared $445,000 in grants through the program. With the help of GENYOUth’s COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund, Tulsa Public School Child Nutrition employees easily transport “Grab & Go” breakfast and lunch meals for families to pick up from the local elementary school.Grant recipients included: Mayor Tim Keller of Albuquerque, N.M., for the “One ABQ Out-of-School Time Get Moving Initiative” to enhance educational and physical activity opportunities; Mayor Hardie Davis of Augusta, Ga., for “Augusta Fit Families” to expose children to healthy eating and activity environments; and Mayor Matthew Sparks of Oakland Park, Fla., for the “Oakland Park Paddle Club” to reduce child obesity through kayaking and paddle boarding activities.

In response to COVID-19, the Foundation contributed three $50,000 emergency grants to Barrio Action in East Los Angeles to organize food drop-offs, GENYOUth’s COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund and The Campaign Against Hunger in New York City to provide access to food for the community.